BREAKING! Pennsylvania State University Study Shows That More Than 50 Percent Of Individuals Infected With SARS-CoV-2 Will Ultimately Develop Long COVID!
is now becoming a more serious issue as initially certain earlier studies had found that only about 30 to 37 percent of people who were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will continue to suffer from a variety of long-term health/medical conditions known collectively as PASC or Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19. However newer data is showing that not only are the medical conditions arising becoming more varied and, in some cases, potentially fatal, but more people are actually being inflicted with the condition than initially assumed.
A new meta-analysis study by researchers from Penn State College of Medicine and Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey-Pennsylvania along with scientists from Deakin University-Australia and the Australian Catholic University-Melbourne has found that more than 50 percent of those who had been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are likely to be afflicted with one or more health conditions associated with Long COVID.
Out of a total of 2100 studies identified, 57 studies with 250 351 survivors of COVID-19 met inclusion criteria. The mean (SD) age of survivors was 54.4 (8.9) years, 140 196 (56%) were male, and 197 777 (79%) were hospitalized during acute COVID-19. High-income countries contributed 45 studies (79%).
The median (IQR) proportion of COVID-19 survivors experiencing at least 1 PASC was 54.0% (45.0%-69.0%; 13 studies) at 1 month (short-term), 55.0% (34.8%-65.5%; 38 studies) at 2 to 5 months (intermediate-term), and 54.0% (31.0%-67.0%; 9 studies) at 6 or more months (long-term).
Most prevalent pulmonary sequelae, neurologic disorders, mental health disorders, functional mobility impairments, and general and constitutional symptoms were chest imaging abnormality (median [IQR], 62.2% [45.8%-76.5%]), difficulty concentrating (median [IQR], 23.8% [20.4%-25.9%]), generalized anxiety disorder (median [IQR], 29.6% [14.0%-44.0%]), general functional impairments (median [IQR], 44.0% [23.4%-62.6%]), and fatigue or muscle weakness (median [IQR], 37.5% [25.4%-54.5%]), respectively. Other frequently reported symptoms included cardiac, dermatologic, digestive, and ear, nose, and throat disorders.
The study findings showed more than half of COVID-19 survivors experienced PASC 6 months after recovery.
The most common PASC involved functional mobility impairments, pulmonary abnormalities, and mental health disorders. These long-term PASC effects occur on a scale that could overwhelm existing health care capacity, particularly in low and middle-income countries.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: JAMA Network https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2784918
This means that alarmingly more than half of the 240 million individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide since December 2019 will experience post-COVID symptoms or what is more commonly known as "long COVID", up to six months after recovering.
The Penn State College of Medicine research team warned that governments, health care organizations and public health professionals should prepare for the large number of COVID-19 survivors who will need care for a variety of psychological and physical symp
So far, it has been found that during their illnesses, many patients with COVID-19 experience symptoms, such as tiredness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, sore joints and loss of taste or smell.
Only until recently, few studies have ever evaluated patients' health after recovering from the coronavirus.
In order to better understand the short- and long-term health effects of the virus, the study team examined worldwide studies involving unvaccinated patients who recovered from COVID-19. According to the findings, adults, as well as children, can experience several adverse health issues for six months or longer after recovering from COVID-19.
study team conducted a systematic review of 57 reports that included data from 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 2019 through March 2021. Among those studied, 79% were hospitalized, and most patients (79%) lived in high-income countries. Patients' median age was 54, and the majority of individuals (56%) were male.
The study team analyzed patients' health post-COVID during three intervals at one month (short-term), two to five months (intermediate-term) and six or more months (long-term).
The study findings showed that survivors experienced an array of residual health issues associated with COVID-19. Generally, these complications affected a patient's general well-being, their mobility or organ systems.
Shockingly the study showed that about one in two survivors experienced long-term COVID manifestations. The rates remained largely constant from one month through six or more months after their initial illness.
The study team noted several trends among survivors, such as:
-General well-being: More than half of all patients reported weight loss, fatigue, fever or pain.
-Mobility: Roughly one in five survivors experienced a decrease in mobility.
-Neurologic concerns: Nearly one in four survivors experienced difficulty concentrating.
-Mental health disorders: Nearly one in three patients were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorders.
-Lung abnormalities: Six in ten survivors had chest imaging abnormality and more than a quarter of patients had difficulty breathing.
-Cardiovascular issues: Chest pain and palpitations were among the commonly reported conditions.
-Skin conditions: Nearly one in five patients experienced hair loss or rashes.
-Digestive issues: Stomach pain, lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting were among the commonly reported conditions.
Co-lead investigator Dr Vernon Chinchilli, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine and Milton S. Hershey Medical Center told Thailand Medical News, "These study findings confirm what many health care workers and COVID-19 survivors have been claiming, namely, that adverse health effects from COVID-19 can linger. Although previous studies have examined the prevalence of long COVID symptoms among patients, this study examined a larger population, including people in high-, middle- and low-income countries, and examined many more symptoms. Therefore, we believe our findings are quite robust given the available data."
Dr Paddy Ssentongo, co-lead investigator and an assistant professor at Penn State Center for Neural Engineering further added, “Alarmingly the burden of poor health in COVID-19 survivors is overwhelming. Among these are the mental health disorders. One's battle with COVID doesn't end with recovery from the acute infection. Vaccination is our best ally to prevent getting sick from COVID-19 and to reduce the chance of long-COVID even in the presence of a breakthrough infection."
To date, the mechanisms by which COVID-19 causes lingering symptoms in survivors are not fully understood. These symptoms could result from immune-system overdrive triggered by the virus, lingering infection, reinfection or an increased production of autoantibodies (antibodies directed at their own tissues). The SARS-CoV-2 virus, the agent that causes COVID-19, can access, enter and live in the nervous system. As a result, nervous system symptoms such as taste or smell disorders, memory impairment and decreased attention and concentration commonly occur in survivors.
Dr Ssentongo also added, "Our study was not designed to confirm COVID-19 as the sole cause of these symptoms. It is plausible that symptoms reported by patients in some of the studies examined were due to some other cause."
The study team stressed that early intervention will be critical for improving the quality of life for many COVID-19 survivors. They said that in the years ahead, health care providers will likely see an influx of patients with psychiatric and cognitive problems, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, who were otherwise healthy before their COVID-19 infection. Based on these findings, health care providers should plan and allocate resources accordingly in order to effectively monitor and treat these conditions.
The study team also noted that these long-term health conditions may cause increased demand for medical care and could overwhelm health care systems, particularly in low and middle-income countries. The team said the findings from this study could help shape treatment plans to improve care for COVID-19 patients and establish integrated evidence-based clinical management for those affected.
Dr Ssentongo suggested, "Since survivors may not have the energy or resources to go back and forth to their health care providers, one-stop clinics will be critical to effectively and efficiently manage patients with long COVID. Such clinics could reduce medical costs and optimize access to care, especially in populations with historically larger health care disparities."
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